186294 Social and economic costs of alcohol use on college campuses

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 4:48 PM

Mandy Stahre, MPH , School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Toben F. Nelson, ScD , Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Henry Wechsler, PhD , Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Elissa R. Weitzman, ScD , Adolescent Medicine and Informatics, Children's Hospital, Boston and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Excessive alcohol use is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States annually and its economic impact is estimated at over $150 billion. College students engage in high rates of excessive alcohol consumption and suffer consequences associated with alcohol use, including crime, injury, and other social problems. However, no studies to date have examined the social and economic costs related to college student drinking. We referenced the International Guidelines for Estimating the Costs of Substance Abuse to estimate alcohol-related social and economic costs linked to student responses from the 2001 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study (CAS) a study of 119 4-year colleges in the United States. Campus-specific factors that contribute to alcohol-related costs included campus-related crime/incidents and health-related costs (i.e., treatment for alcohol overdose, alcohol-related injuries, counseling or treatment, and mandatory alcohol education). We projected student self-reports of specific harms to weighted population estimates to obtain total cost estimates. The primary drivers of costs associated with college student drinking were campus enrollment size and current prevalence of drinking. Health-related costs associated with student alcohol use accounted for the majority of estimated economic costs. However, this estimate does not include expenditures related to staff training (e.g., campus police/security, resident advisors, health professionals) and alcohol prevention programming. In addition, student self-reports of the frequency of given harms were capped at an occurrence of 2 or more times per harm resulting in a conservative estimate of costs. Student alcohol use is associated with significant social and economic costs.

Learning Objectives:
1.Understand and quantify social and economic costs of alcohol use by college students. 2.Understand factors within college campuses that contribute to social and economic costs associated with alcohol use. 3.Identify appropriate prevention and intervention targets to reduce the social and economic costs of student alcohol use.

Keywords: Alcohol Use, Economic Analysis

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Current PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health studying under Dr Traci Toomey studying Alcohol Epidemiology. Worked for 5 years with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Alcohol Team under the direction of Dr Robert Brewer.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.